July 31, 2007
New Measurement and Monetizing Efforts on Web, Mobile Platforms

Our continued discussions here about transmedia storytelling and the potential for new models for telling stories, gaining revenue, and consuming media properties remains reliant on the gradual acceptance of these new technologies and the infrastructure--both in terms of technology and business models--that surround them. This was a major focus of several of my posts here last week, focusing on the rate of technological change, realities of the digital divide, measurement systems, and cultural practices.

While thinking about some of these issues, I was paying particularly close attention to a couple of recent news stories.

First, ComScore--the main competitor for Nielsen NetRatings--sounds like they are moving in quite a different direction than Nielsen. While Nielsen is focusing its ratings toward time spent on a page more than total number of views, ComScore's shift in practice will move toward targeting less active viewers instead of the active minority.

In other words, as Nielsen thinks more about targeting in on or giving greater value to the more active among Web viewers, ComScore wants to find a way to broaden out, to move to a more dispersed "broad-cast" model. While I have my problems with the NetRatings approach, I don't think that the answer would be to avoid targeting the most active users in an effort to try to engage with those who don't seem as inclined to be engaged.

On the other hand, I do not mean to discount the danger of continually targeting the same few active people with the same old ads. The problem comes, to me, with the need for a simplistic metric for what is unfortunately not (nor has it ever been) nearly as simplistic of a world as these measurement systems would like.

In my earlier post on this subject, I wrote, "I agree with Nielsen and the sentiments of many others that page views is not the best indicator of popularity for a site and for data for advertisers, but I'm quite a bit more reticent to move to this 'time spent' model wholeheartedly. I think the key is that it's just not as simple for one quantifiable metric to explain all in terms of popularity, but that is the business Nielsen is in, so of course they will continue to try."

Meanwhile, Third Screen is claiming that it is nearing half of mobile subscribers in the U.S. with its ads. See Daisy Whitney at TelevisionWeek for more. As I wrote about back in May, AOL has purchased Third Screen Media.

Oh, and by the way, this isn't a completely unrelated note, but Todd Cunningham at MTVN directed my attention to this interesting Web site called Club Internet for an advertisement that features some impressive flash animation sequences. I think it's been around for a little while, but I hadn't seen it until yesterday.